5 Reasons to Avoid RV Travel Trailers

By Kyle & Olivia Brady | Founders of Drivin' & Vibin' | We use affiliate links and may receive a small commission on purchases.

5 Reasons to Avoid RV Travel Trailers

RV travel trailers are the most diverse grouping among all RV classes. From 14 feet to 30 feet, it’s challenging to bunch them all together.

However, for the sake of today’s article, we’re sharing five general reasons you may want to avoid purchasing an RV travel trailer.

The only major exception to the RV travel trailer class is Airstream. We wrote a specific article about those…and the reasons to avoid them are much different compared to traditional travel trailers.

What is an RV Travel Trailer?

Travel Trailers are the most common RVs on the road. They have one distinct identifier – a bumper hitch tows RV travel trailers.

This is the hitch on the very back of a truck (unlike 5th wheel RVs towed with a hitch in the bed of the truck).

Travel trailers look very boxy. They can have many slides or no slides.

Here are the reasons you may want to avoid travel trailers.

#1 Pump & Dump Production

Due to travel trailer popularity, RV manufacturers are incentivized to produce these units on a large scale.

If you can believe it, manufacturers assemble these RVs in less than a day. Many of the workers get paid by unit-completion, and not by the hour.

When you put these puzzle pieces together, it’s easy to identify why many RV travel trailers don’t stand the test of time.

Indeed, Class A, B, and C RVs are also assembled quickly. Their higher price point, however, increases (slightly) the manufacturing quality.

In our experience, traditional travel trailers are notorious for using the cheapest quality build-materials.

#2 Steep Decline in Value

Unless you have a charming vintage trailer or a molded fiberglass trailer, chances are, your run-of-the-mill unit will lose value faster than virtually any other RV type.

The problem is three-fold:

  • There Are LOTS of used units for sale
  • New Units are relatively inexpensive
  • Travel trailers don’t hold up well

On the upside, if you want to buy a used travel trailer, you can usually find a great deal.

#3 Less Towing Safety

When it comes to towing, a travel trailer has fewer safety features than its 5th wheel older brother.

Sure, you can buy sway control, an equalizer hitch, or upgraded trailer brakes. Regardless – it will never be a safe as a 5th wheel.

This is why semi-trucks use the same hitching mechanisms as 5th wheel RVs.

If your travel trailer is 16 feet or under, towing will likely be less stressful. Long travel trailers give me the chills just thinking about pulling them next to big trucks on the interstate.

#4 Not a Ton of Exterior Storage

I always get hate-mail when I mention the lack of exterior storage in travel trailers. I understand you do have exterior storage in your travel trailer.

The fact is, if exterior storage is crucial to you (bikes, kayaks, outdoor gear), you’re better off buying a 5th wheel or Class A RV.

5th wheels have raised interior rooms. This design feature provides ample, long & tall) exterior storage.

#5 If Unused, Travel Trailers Decline Quickly

Touching on our #1 reason to avoid travel trailers, the lack of build quality leads to easy degradation.

Leaks seem to have more quickly in these units.

It’s harder to keep rodents out. (Here are a few tips if you’re worried)

We’ve probably all seen travel trailers rotting in a nearby yard.

You have to stay on top of the maintenance. Otherwise, they’ll slip out of control.

Again, it’s not that other RVs don’t degrade. It’s merely that the low cost of travel trailers makes them less of a priority to upkeep. Fewer owners will spend $300/month on enclosed storage.

  • The high cost of motorhomes typically makes an owner more attentive.
  • The easy storage of Class B RVs keeps them out of the elements at a low price.

Agree or disagree, but travel trailer degradation visible in every town in America.

It’s Not All Bad, Though!

Don’t get us wrong; we like travel trailers. In fact, we’ve owned two!

Here are the reasons a travel trailer may be a good fit for you:

  • Many floor plan options
  • Affordable
  • Good for Boondocking
  • Few, if any, campground limitation
  • Cheap to buy used

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